ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish prosecutors have prepared an indictment against 108 people, including jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, in connection with protests triggered by a militant attack on the Syrian town of Kobani in 2014, state media said on Wednesday.
Last week, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Turkey must release Demirtas – already charged with terrorism-related offences – saying the justification for his four years in prison was a cover for limiting pluralism and debate.
State-owned Anadolu news agency said the Ankara state prosecutors’ office sought punishment for the 108 suspects on various charges including 37 cases of homicide and disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state.
In early October, a Turkish court ordered the pre-trial detention of 17 people, including senior pro-Kurdish opposition members, in connection with the Kobani protests in October 2014, which led to the deaths of 37 people.
The protesters in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast accused Turkey’s army of standing by as Islamic State militants besieged Kobani in plain view, just across the Syrian border.
Turkish authorities said the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) – designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – incited the protests and that the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) supported them. The HDP, the third largest party, denies links to terrorism.
The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
(Reporting by Daren Butler; Editing by Susan Fenton)